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Dave and I started our trip to Puerto Rico with a family reunion with my family. There were 11 of us in total, and one of my cousins boldly stated that an absolute must for him on this trip was to see “creatures of the deep” (his words exactly). And so he was the one that found this kayaking and snorkeling trip with Culebra Island Adventures.
Culebra is a small island (7 miles long and 3.5 miles wide), 17 miles east of the main island of Puerto Rico. It is known for it’s snorkeling and gorgeous Flamenco beach (listed as one of the top 10 beaches in the world by the Travel Channel).
This didn’t seem like a difficult decision to make. A day trip to a gorgeous island where we would get to kayak, snorkel by the reefs, see turtles and roll around on one of the world’s most gorgeous beaches with a highly rated family owned small business, seemed like a great way to spend our time.
Culebra Island Adventures is owned and run by Laura, her husband and his son, Damian. They have been around for a few years and have already amassed over 500 reviews on TripAdvisor. They have multiple tour options and we opted for the Seaventure option.
I had heard horror stories of people waiting in line for hours to secure local ferry tickets so I knew this must be avoided at all costs. Luckily Culebra Island Adventures has an option where they purchase the tickets for you, so all you have to do is pick them up at the ferry terminal (they even told us we could bypass the line to do so). Perfect. And so our day started with a drive over to the Fajardo terminal, to which we arrived bright and early for and had a 1.5 hour wait before the ferry departed. We kept ourselves “entertained” by avoiding massive bee attacks with our to go coffees. Note to self – never again will I purchase a coffee to go in Puerto Rico unless I want to run around like a mad person dodging swarms of bees and spilling hot coffee all over my hands. In Puerto Rico the bees go for the coffee.
The hour long ferry ride provided a bunch needed nap for most of our group of 8 (except for my one aunt who was in full on panic attack mode thinking we were hitting rough seas and were at risk of sinking). Once we arrived on the island of Culebra, Laura was there to greet us and shuttle us to Tamarindo beach.
One the beach we also met Damian, our second guide and got a bit of the back story to the company, before our safety briefing and kayaking lesson. I particularly appreciated how thorough both Damian and Laura were in their instructions (there was one person in our group who had never kayaked before).
You can tell right away that both Damian and Laura are super passionate about what they do and feel strongly about the marine life in Culebra.
The format of the tour was that we would kayak for 20-30 minutes, hop in the water for 45-60 minutes of free snorkeling by the reefs, kayak back to shore, enjoy a bit of lunch before snorkeling in a different area to see the sea turtles and other sea creatures. The day would end with our remaining time before the ferry spent on Flamenco beach, and then we would be dropped off at the ferry port.
We were ready to get started! The group was off in double kayaks and luckily no one flipped over!
It was time to hop in the water and get the snorkeling started. Both Damian and Laura were taking underwater photos of us the entire time and guiding us to the regions where we would see the most interesting fish. I personally love to snorkel and find it simply incredible. Being underwater and surround by fish and reefs instantly transports me back to my childhood dreams of being a mermaid. I just can’t get enough.
After a quick lunch of sandwiches (vegetarian or meat based), fruit, chips, and soda/juice we were ready for part two of snorkeling. Now we would get to see turtles. I was not sure if we would even see the turtles, I didn’t know that it was a guarantee or how many of them there would be or how close we would get.
Well we saw lots of turtles and they were super close. Naturally Laura and Damian gave us a full briefing on how to behave around the turtles (no touching, arms by our sides, etc). It was incredible. I could not believe how close we could get and how active the turtles were. We could see them perfectly and they were adorable. Simply adorable.
I mean it was just amazing. I have snorkeled all over the world and never gotten this close to so many turtles or been able to spend so much time around them. It was simply amazing.
And the photos that Laura and Damian took of us while surrounded by the turtles were also greatly appreciated. These are the kinds of life moments you absolutely want captured!
As if seeing the turtles themselves wasn’t enough, we were also provided with a mini marine life lesson.
Laura and Damian both took the time to point out various other sea creatures – starfish, urchins, hermit crabs, etc and even let us touch and feel some of them!
I was thoroughly entertained by this, as was every adult in our group, so if you’re taking this tour with kids I am sure they would go wild over this. I also loved learning about all the different sea creatures we were touching and seeing. The information provided by Laura and Damian was super interesting and informative. It was particularly interesting to learn about the turtles themselves and how they their behavior and movements are being tracked for research. Definitely saddening to find out that from humans touching the turtles, the turtles have developed herpes in their eyes. The usual footprint of humans.
After the turtle snorkeling we were shuttled over to Flamenco beach for an hour, before we were brought back to the ferry terminal.
I loved this beach and the gorgeous mountain scenery in the background.
The sand was perfectly soft and light and the water clear and warm. The perfect ending to a perfect day.
As we were getting ready to hop in the van to head to the ferry, we found out my uncle had lost his wallet and as we ran around looking for it, Laura went over to ask some of the other tour operators she knew if they had seen anything. With her help we were able to locate the missing wallet! We fully appreciated her going out of her way to help us find the lost wallet!
Overall we had a fantastic day with Culebra Island Adventures. Laura and Damian were super friendly and personal guides that were brimming with information and made sure we had a great time. A snorkeling and kayaking tour is an absolute must in Puerto Rico and I couldn’t be happier we choose this company to go with. I could not recommend this tour enough!
**Many thanks to Culebra Island Adventures for providing two complimentary tickets for our tour group. As always all opinions expressed here are our own**